I’ve just gotten home from work and removed the “dork” sign from around my neck. I fell twice in two days. Yup! You read it right. TWICE in TWO days. This did not happen in the privacy of my home or even in my own driveway. The first fall was as I was leaving the gym. I was oblivious to the fact that it had been drizzling freezing rain all evening. I was stepping off the curb and quite literally touched my toe to the ground and just like that….I was on my rear with my knees sprawled and my bag on my shoulder. I scanned the parking lot thanking God that no one witnessed this epic fall – and then I heard “Are you okaaaaaay?”. The brief relief I felt only a millisecond ago was now replaced with humiliation. I got up and assured this very concerned gym goer that I had not suffered any life threaten injuries. I swallowed my pride and shuffled the rest of the way to my car because the entire parking lot was black ice. It gets better or worse, depending on if you feel bad for me or if you are enjoying this. Today I was just visiting with some co-workers and decided that I better set up for my client. I was in a great mood and had a bounce in my step. I took a short cut and stepped over a box of protein drinks and again, quite literally touched my toe to some wet tile and BAM! My feet flew from under me and I had no chance of saving face. I felt like it was in slow motion with my hair, arms and legs all flying everywhere. It was ungraceful at best and hilarious to watch, or so I was told. By whom you ask? Oh yeah, you guessed it. EVERYONE I know at work. Well maybe not everyone, but lots of people anyway. I had to withstand all the concern which was quickly followed by pointing, laughing and the inevitable jabs at my athletic prowess. I had to laugh too because it was a spectacular spill that would probably gotten me a 10.0 in the Olympics.
As entertaining as this account of my seemingly unlucky two days has been, I have another reason for sharing this story. I find myself quite lucky to have survived these two falls with injuries limited to a bruised ego and a reputation at work as “the girl who falls down”. Let me first clarify that I was not drinking, tired or otherwise impaired. I can’t explain it. At first glance one might think that I am a klutz. I may very well be a bit klutzy, but I had as much control over my body as I could have as I was falling. I did not throw my back out, land on my back, break my wrist or land on my head. I am a personal trainer that works in a gym and I’m a big believer in incorporating functional training in with what you would consider “gym “ exercises like lifting weights and doing crunches. I believe this kind of training saved my a**. Functional training looks at the way all parts of the body work in sync to complete a movement like walking, reaching, bending, climbing etc. It’s meant to enhance all aspects of fitness – strength, flexibility, balance, speed and coordination.
Functional training exercises utilize your body weight, medicine balls, resistance bands, kettlebells, and BOSUs among other tools. There are various progressions of lunges, squats, twisting, balancing, pushing, pulling and coordinating movements. Form is everything. Before trying anything, as always, getting clearance from your physician and getting professional instruction from a personal trainer are good ideas to increase your chances of safely training. The point I’m trying to make is to consider thinking outside the proverbial box. Think of fitness as more than just running on a treadmill or doing endless leg presses. Who wants to be sidelined by a shoulder injury because you were reaching for something in the backseat? Do you want to be sitting on a couch because you twisted your ankle stepping on uneven ground? How does straining your back while holding on to the hand of a fit –throwing two-year old sound? You may be able to do 100 crunches or bench press 300 pounds, but could you emerge injury free from not one, but two falls in two days? I will say that my guardian angel was probably sitting on my shoulder, but I also give credit to all the functional training I do by myself and with my clients for sparing me from a trip to the emergency room. I hope you never fall or get injured doing just everyday things. Increase your chances of remaining and getting healthy by varying your exercise routine to incorporate more than just six-pack abs, bulging biceps or slender legs.
Until next time…Live Well! – Toni Kuhel